How to HIRE A GHOSTWRITER
MAY 25, 2021 BY KAREN S. COLE
When it comes to hiring book ghostwriters there are a lot of things you need to do. And choices to make.
A Q&A with GWI Ghostwriters
By Valerie P.
Book Publishing Expert
Ghostwriting is the practice of writing for and in the . It is most commonly associated with book publishing, but today it is also widely used in public relations, corporate communications, social media, and many other industries and fields that are producing greater and greater amounts of written content.
In this article, a professional book ghostwriter explains the field and how the process works and what to look for when “shopping” for a ghostwriter for your project.
Throughout history , politicians, business leaders, and other busy public figures have relied on ghostwriters to help them turn their ideas and stories into . More recently, thanks to the self-publishing revolution, an even wider assortment of authors are hiring ghostwriters to share their expertise and experiences in business. Ghostwriters are helping create how-to’s, self-help books, memoirs, and even cookbooks. Hiring book ghostwriters is becoming more common than ever before.
Presidents, members of Congress, and CEOs have long used professional speechwriters to help them find the right words to win votes and build brands. In addition, there is the growing popularity of TED-style conferences and the platforms they provide. More and more executives and advocates who want to be seen as thought leaders are turning to ghostwriters to craft their remarks and presentations, so that thought leaders can break through and stand out. Hiring ghostwriters can help illuminate their work.
Large companies often turn to experienced writers to craft a number of internal and external content. Ghostwriters are hired to write annual reports, business papers, and corporate histories. Ghostwriters also draft marketing content including newsletters, website content, white papers, and other thought leadership pieces.
SOCIAL AND DIGITAL MEDIA CONTENT
A rich online presence has become a must for anyone looking to be an influencer, promote a brand or a cause. This includes leaders of major corporations and organizations, celebrities, and book authors. The people behind these brands most often don’t have the time to constantly update their Twitter, Facebook, and blog feeds. So, they will typically hire a digitally-savvy ghostwriter to curate accounts and provide content. Read more about author websites and effective social media for authors. Hiring book ghostwriters can help you with your social media marketing too.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE A GHOSTWRITER?
The varies greatly. Depending on the stakes of the project, the caliber of the writer, the complexity of the subjects, and more. When you hire a writer, you’re paying for their skill, experience and time. Someone who won a Pulitzer Prize or worked as a White House speechwriter is going to command a higher rate than a recent college graduate new to the field. Writing a full book-length manuscript from scratch will involve more of the writer’s time and therefore cost more than fleshing out a short e-book that has been partially written. A client looking to hire a book ghostwriter can expect to pay anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000—and up.
DOES THE GHOSTWRITER GET ANY CREDIT?
When it comes to books, most ghostwriters don’t receive any recognition beyond a “thank you” in the acknowledgements section. In many cases, they are asked to sign non-disclosure and/or confidentiality agreements–especially for high-profile projects. Some ghostwriters, though, are publicly credited on the cover as a (either with an “and” or “with”). When it comes to speeches and other kinds of content, ghostwriters are truly invisible and seldom acknowledged. Hiring book ghostwriters means hiring anonymous faces and names.
HOW LONG does ghostwriting TAKE?
Every project is different. The timeframe depends on:
- How much source material has been compiled
- How much additional research has to be done
- How many drafts are needed to capture the author’s voice.
Some projects like speechwriting and corporate communications are driven by firm deadlines. These projects often have quick turnarounds. On the other hand, book projects, especially serious, idea-driven works , can take months and sometimes years to complete. Hiring book ghostwriters, though, can definitely speed things up.
How DO I find a good GHOSTWRITER?
Corporations, organizations and well-connected public figures go through a literary agent or PR firm to find an elite ghostwriter. But for most others, the Internet is the best place to start. Some popular online resources for finding ghostwriters include Mediabistro, Elance, and Craigslist. Or, you can connect with a firm like that can source their network of freelancers. There are many advantage to going through a firm versus hiring a writer directly. Firms can identify proven and quality options suited for your project. They can handle contract and fee negotiations, and act as an arbitrator if conflicts or other issues arise.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT GHOSTWRITER FOR MY PROJECT?
There are many things to consider when hiring a ghostwriter to assist you.
One of the most important considerations is your budget. It will likely determine the level of expertise you can expect.
Read more about what you can expect to pay for editorial freelancers.
- Experience and Credentials
You will also want to consider the work a writer has previously done. Ideally, you’ll be able to find someone who has worked on similar projects before. Which should make yours go more smoothly. Request resumes and writing samples from writers so you can see their credentials and work products. Also, be sure to ask for useful references.
Once you’ve got a short list based on skills and experience, spend some time talking with the writers to get a sense of who you connect with. After all, you’ll be spending quite a lot of time with this person. Additionally, you may be sharing intimate details of your life and your thoughts. If everything goes well, you might want to continue collaborating and write more books together.
HOW DOES THE WRITER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WORK?
Generally speaking, the ghostwriting relationship should be a highly collaborative one. The most effective ghostwriters are the ones who can help you produce the best version of your vision. To do so, they will often conduct extensive recorded interviews to get a sense of your voice, style and personality. As with all relationships, open communication, clear boundaries, and manageable expectations are key. For avoiding conflicts and keeping the work flowing. In other words, hiring book ghostwriters is a process, and it can take some time. But, it can be fun and productive. And it may be your best route to getting published, optioned and/or produced for the market.
Come to us here at We are your one-stop shop for all your book, screenplay, music or other freelance or contracted writing. And your editing, publishing, optioning and marketing needs. Go to our Contact Page and click on a link to use one of our many contact methods. Whatever you find will work, it’s trustworthy.